Wednesday, September 23, 2020

 . . . and now insomnia. I seem to have entered some kind of hell-cycle: first, headaches; then, awake most of the night.

Maybe it's the weather . . . a strange dry wind, fire-danger warnings posted, but also high-surf warnings because Hurricane Teddy is far out in the Gulf of Maine spinning crazy rainless gales our way.

So I spent the night trying to defuse insomniac worry scenarios such as "FOOTNOTES! HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT FOOTNOTES! DON'T FORGET FOOTNOTES!" Such a stupid waste of hours.

Anyway, there's daylight, and there's leftover lasagna for breakfast, so that's something. And I have a shiny washable kitchen in which to cook, and a new garden path to plan, and suddenly the editing project is advancing fairly quickly, and I should have a chance to sit down and read some Byron today, and maybe I'll submit the NPS manuscript someplace . . .

But writing time remains nonexistent. I just don't have any. I get up early, I try to get my paying-work done efficiently, but I have no private time and no private space. Literally, the moment Paul leaves for work, Tom comes home from work. If I have half an hour alone in the house, I'm lucky. Usually it's more like ten minutes.

I'm not complaining; honestly, I'm not complaining. We're healthy and employed and we enjoy each other's company. But it's hard to keep calling myself a poet when I'm not writing poems.


nancy said...

Sleep like a Victorian and write in the middle of the night?,hours%20and%20then%20wake%20up.

Two nights ago I seemed to manage two hour intervals. Ugh.

Dawn Potter said...

My entire life I've been a morning person: way more productive at first light. Also, I'm so habit-driven. It is hard to imagine a middle-of-the-night writing ritual, but maybe it's possible.

Christopher Woodman said...

"it's hard to keep calling myself a poet when I'm not writing poems."

I think you're missing the point entirely, dear Dawn.

Try rewriting some of them, even the ones that have been published, and in particular the ones you like best -- but also the ones that most unnerve you (I could give you some suggestions...).

Try just reading some of them for a change, for the joy of it, and even more importantly to find out what they were actually saying. How they were trying to tell you something and you were just not listening.

Wordsworth rewrote them because he was convinced that he could say it better, and he couldn't.

If you were a musician (which of course you are), you wouldn't hesitate to play the piece again, after all -- would you?

And spend some time being like RBG -- and I say that to myself as well, even as a man.

And RAGE against these times!


Dawn Potter said...

Christopher, I'm not sure you read my original post fully or that you're aware of my current housing situation. I'm not having trouble writing poems because I don't know how to write poems or how to do the work. I'm having trouble writing poems because, for pandemic reasons, my son has moved into my study so I no longer have a private writing room or any time alone in a very small house. When he's asleep I have to do my paying work. When he's not asleep, he's talking and playing music and thunking around in a perfectly normal and charming young-man way, which is a terrible poetry-writing environment. Because of the pandemic I cannot go to the library or any other quiet bookish spot to work. I do try to sit outside and write, when I can. But my production has slowed radically. That's just the way it is. At least I have a job. At least I have a dear family. At least we're healthy.

Christopher Woodman said...

I do understand all that, Dawn, and I thank you for it. Also I do read you regularly, indeed yours is the only blog I do. And I never leave comments anywhere else.

I just feel very strongly that being a poet doesn't necessarily mean one always has to be writing poems. Being a poet also means you are living with yourself in a special way, also that what you have already written is too precious just to be left on the shelf. It's the gold-leaf that grows on the relics that is a poet's life, and what makes being a poet a sacred calling.

I just wrote something about Albert Einstein on my own blog, saying that his famous face is even more of a testament to human value than all his theories put together, that a human life is more about who we are than what we do.

(Forgive me the intrusion -- it was really what I said about RBG that inspired it, her face which we all know better even than what she did!)


Dawn Potter said...

Thanks for this, Christopher.